May 24, 2012

This Sunday is National Sunscreen Day. And just like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day (or, in my opinion, Pizza Day), it’s something you should celebrate every day. Why?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, unprotected sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. More than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, affecting 2 million people. At current rates, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime.

About 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma, and the incidence of melanoma has been rising for at least 30 years. That’s why spending a few minutes each morning can make a huge difference.

If the scary cancer facts above don’t get to you, think about it on a surface level: skin exposed to harmful UV rays eventually equals more wrinkled, thinner, sagging skin. Face the facts: It’s time to hit the (sunscreen) bottle.

The FDA is rolling out new sunscreen regulations that manufacturers will have to meet by 2013. Find details on the new labels here.

I talked to New York City dermatologist Deborah Jaliman about what we should be looking for in a sunscreen this summer. “Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen with Parsol 1789 (or Avobenzone). Labels should say "water resistant" for either 40 minutes or 80 minutes,” she says. “Use an SPF of at least 30 for both face and body. Many people choose to use a different type of sunscreen for their body and face. They may prefer a spray sunscreen for the body as they're more convenient when applying. On their face, they may want to use a sunscreen that's specifically tailored for their type of skin; for example if they have oily skin they may want to use a gel or a lighter lotion.”

Happy (safe!) summer sunning!

Here are some great resources to help keep your skin healthier this summer (and beyond):

You May Like